Covid Test Positivity in L.A. Falls 20% as Hospitalizations Skyrocket

The 7-day average daily rate for people who have tested positive for the virus in Los Angeles has dropped dramatically over the past week, which may be the first sign that the Omicron surge is finally ending. Test positivity is considered a better measure of the rate of spread than raw case counts because it is a percentage that is averaged over a week’s time.

The test positivity rate has dropped nearly 20% in L.A. County over the past week, to 16.5% Monday. This was down from 20.2% on Tuesday. On January 1, the rate reached a record high of 26.5%. Officials from the Health Department noted that the 16.5% rate is still eight times greater than the 2% rate of test-positivity a month ago.

Monday’s new daily infection count by the county Department of Public Health was 31,576. This is probably due to weekend reporting delays. Although the daily count reached 45,000 on Thursday, it has remained over 40,000 for the week. No significant declines have been seen.

Officials from the health sector have expressed concern about the recent surge in cases that are affecting a system already understaffed by staff shortages. This has been further compounded by Covid infections among healthcare professionals.

Today, the number of Covid positive patients in Los Angeles County hospital climbed to 4,564. This number is nearly six times higher than it was one month ago, with 800 additional daily cases.

According to California’s CatCAT ensemble forecasting model, the county is set eclipse its all-time Covid hospitalizations record of 7,926 this week. It is expected that the hospitalizations rise will continue until it reaches a new high of 13,507 on Feb 2.

Another 27 virus-related deaths were also reported Monday. However, county health officials claim that the reporting delays cited above meant that many of them were not complete. Before the weekend, the death toll had increased fourfold, going from 15 deaths on Tuesday to 65 on Friday. As hospitalizations increase in case count by approximately 2-3 weeks, death rates generally fall by 2 weeks.

This was a slight decline from 622 patients a day prior.

City News Service contributed to the report.

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